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Milestones

John Wilbur ‘Bill’ Woods celebrates 100 years

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Bill Woods celebrated his 100th birthday April 14 surrounded by friends and family.

Born in Piedmont to John and Clara Woods, he was active in the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout in 1935. Later he attended Cal Berkeley, remaining there until he enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Although his enlistment required him to move across the country, he ultimately graduated from the University of West Virginia with a degree in electronics.

During World War II, Woods served in the famous 3rd Army in Germany under the command of General George Patton. He installed, maintained and protected top secret microwave repeaters in Germany’s Black Forest.

After the war, Woods returned to Auburn and became the principal of Lincoln Elementary School. He met his wife, Laura, and married in 1951.

They have three sons; Bruce, Brad and Bill. During this time he became a Free Mason in the Eureka Lodge and later a Master Mason and Scottish Rite.

Laura Willard grew up in Rocklin about a block away from “Fin (Finnish Temperance) Hall” where her mother would play piano for the Friday night dances. She met and married Bill while a school librarian in Auburn.
Years later they would return to Rocklin and manage the Historical Society’s museum on Rocklin Road where they became known throughout the community.

Bill invented and patented a unique aluminum metal spinning process. His company, Sierra Spun Metal, based in Auburn, produced metal speaker cones for waterproof outdoor speakers.

He sold the metal spinning business 1963 and joined SIFE Trust Fund (Walnut Creek) as a sales manager/senior vice president. He was instrumental in building the fund into a billion-dollar enterprise. He retired in 1989 and traveled domestically and internationally with his wife. They recently celebrated 66 years of marriage.

Bill’s greatest gift and lasting legacy is his willingness and ability to help others. Drawing on clarity of thought and strong spiritual underpinning, he has freely offered his advice and positive message to others who are facing challenges, helping them on their way.